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Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom

Like my last post, this is addressed primarily to my white readers, this time the white teachers who read my Work Thursday posts. I’m white, from a super-privileged middle class background, one that has benefited a lot from systemic racism. Many of my students over the years, however, have been Black, from a variety ofContinue reading “Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom”

Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability

I was a freshman in high school, having just moved across the country to a wealthy suburb of Washington DC, where many Pentagon officers lived, when the 9/11 attacks happened. Most of my fellow students had some connection to the government or military through their parents’ jobs. Many parents at my school worked in theContinue reading “Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability”

But What About At-Risk Students?

My university, like many others, has announced some modifications for fall semester, but is still trying to do mostly in-person classes. I’m not here to complain about the very difficult decisions that university leadership is making; I am actually quite thankful to be “just” a contract faculty instructor, because these decisions right now are allContinue reading “But What About At-Risk Students?”

The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You

Notice I said “can learn from you” not “that you can teach” in the title. That’s because this lesson is not one you explicitly teach. It’s not on tests. I’m not even sure how you’d assess it. But it’s important. The most important lesson your students can learn from you is this: Grace. Grace isContinue reading “The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You”

Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design

When I was in 8th grade, my English Teacher assigned a research paper. I think it was only 5-8 pages, honestly. I can’t remember the exact numbers. It was, though, the longest research paper any of us had written for a class up to that point, and the class was, in a word, shook. OnContinue reading “Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design”

About Those Staggered Due Dates…

Previously I wrote about my scheme this semester to stagger due dates by having students sign up for a date during a “due week,” and reported that it was doing pretty well. I wrote too soon. As you may have surmised, time simply has no meaning anymore. Even self-selected due dates became meaningless when myContinue reading “About Those Staggered Due Dates…”

The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19

Yesterday, Ball State University announced that we will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester, effective Monday. I wasn’t surprised, honestly, and I’m actually a little relieved. I’m not given to panic. But I know I’ve been dragging lately, and honestly the requirement to entirely change my teaching strategy overnight excites me.Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19”

Update: Due Week Results

Before the semester began, I wrote about my resolution to improve response times on student work by assigning due weeks and having students sign up for their due dates within the weeks, rather than having a set due date for the entire class. Last week I wrote about building revision into the syllabus, which wasContinue reading “Update: Due Week Results”

First Year Composition Conundrums

This week I had a very depressing thought: As a fully qualified person with a Ph.D., I am teaching essentially the same courses that I was teaching my first year of graduate school, with only a B.A. to my name and a week of “boot camp” training. Sure, I get paid more, but I alsoContinue reading “First Year Composition Conundrums”

The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity

Last week, I introduced my students to the genre of the literature review. This is, for most first year composition students, an entirely alien genre, since it’s largely the province of academic work. However, the course I’m teaching requires, as part of its description, that my students produce an annotated bibliography of 15-20 sources andContinue reading “The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity”